IRL: Panther Racing press conference

Pennzoil Panther Racing Saturday, May 25, 2002 JIM POSTL (President, Pennzoil Quaker State): "I have the particular pleasure of announcing that Pennzoil Quaker State and Panther Racing will renew their partnership for a further three years...

Pennzoil Panther Racing
Saturday, May 25, 2002

JIM POSTL (President, Pennzoil Quaker State):

"I have the particular pleasure of announcing that Pennzoil Quaker State and Panther Racing will renew their partnership for a further three years that will see us in a very close association and partnership at least through 2005. We have a very long and happy association with open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500. A Pennzoil car has won Indy three different times, and we're looking forward to adding a fourth tomorrow. Secondly, the Panther Racing organization is truly outstanding. High-quality people. High-quality process. Everything they do has excellence associated with it. We're very proud to be associated with them. I can't tell you how excited we are to be associated with Sam Hornish Jr., certainly in our view, the most exciting driver in all auto racing. He won his first race in Pennzoil colors, and he hasn't stopped."

JOHN BARNES (Co-owner, Pennzoil Panther Racing):

"This month has been incredible for us. Opening weekend, we presented the team with rings for winning the championship last year, and they've been wearing them very proudly. Sam's performance has been incredible as the team's has. Pennzoil has been a great sponsor and partner and friend of Panther Racing, Our friendship has grown from day one, and I hope it continues for a long time."

How important is it to have a sponsor secured so early?

"It's fabulous. It's building blocks, and this isn't a block. It's a building to add to our program. Pennzoil's commitment has been incredible. To know there going to be here for three more years allows us to lock down more partnerships and hopefully continue our winning ways."

About continuing relationship with GM

"It starts with Speedway Engines. We could not have won one race I think if we had not had their help. The motor we have for tomorrow is a blessing. We're really excited. With the change from Oldsmobile for Chevy, our association has grown, and it's going to grow through 2005, as well. We are a GM team."

With the announcements this week, how many CART teams do you see coming over to the IRL?

"I don't know. I haven't had a count of how many teams there are in CART now. As soon as I do, I'll let you know. If they want to race in open-wheel racing, they'll be in the IRL next year. I think the IRL has grown steadily fast, and we've had a few steps backward, but it's full steam ahead now. It's a testament to the IRL now that there are people on the stage discussing their involvement in the IRL for the next three years."

SAM HORNISH JR. (Driver, Pennzoil Panther Racing):

"It was hard to believe that Pennzoil would come back for a couple more years, but it's good to have in writing. I'm just really excited about the future and tomorrow's race. I'm very excited to get this race started. It's been too long between races."

How has a quieter month of May helped you keep your focus this year?

"Last year we did quite a bit of stuff. We were on track a lot and also doing a lot of stuff off track. It took a lot away from my concentration so we scaled it down this year. Plus the car has been good all month. We haven't been struggling to find speed or we haven't had to be on the track. It's made my confidence a lot better just to know that when we want to go to the front or wanted to run fast, we've been there. When we wanted to run race setups, the car was working great, as well. I'm pumped up for tomorrow because I know we've run a whole week of running race setups and know pretty much in any race conditions what we can run by ourselves, and it's been pretty fast. I think we've been faster than most of the field when it comes to running over 30 laps. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow's race because it's such a judge of what a driver is capable of. It's the longest race we run. It's the hardest track that we run at. And we definitely have the best field in history. The fastest and closest field. Anyone who wins tomorrow should feel great about their accomplishment. I can look at 20 guys that if they pull into Victory Lane, I can't say that they didn't have a chance to win."

Which turn at Indy do you consider the toughest?

"I consider any turn at Indy to be the toughest turn in motorsports. Turn 1 is definitely the one that's bit the most people. The fact it changes so much from day to day to Race Day. You can see around the corner, and there's no distractions. It's only turn that has grandstands on both sides. No other track has that. Everything narrows up when you have a lot people out there. There's 32 other cars out there, and it's usually the fastest corner on the racetrack."

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing